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Am J Nurs. 2014 Feb;114(2):36-42; quiz 43. doi: 10.1097/01.NAJ.0000443769.04764.65.

Posttonsillectomy pain in children.

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Kimberly A. Sutters is a clinical nurse specialist in the Department of Patient Care Support at Children's Hospital Central California in Madera. Glenn Isaacson is a professor in the Departments of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery and Pediatrics at the Temple University School of Medicine in Philadelphia. Some of the research on which this article is based was funded by an unrestricted project grant Ms. Sutters received from the National Institute of Nursing Research. Contact author: Kimberly A. Sutters, The authors and planners have disclosed no potential conflicts of interest, financial or otherwise.


Tonsillectomy, used to treat a variety of pediatric disorders, including obstructive sleep apnea, peritonsillar cellulitis or abscesses, and very frequent throat infection, is known to produce nausea, vomiting, and prolonged, moderate-to-severe pain. The authors review the causes of posttonsillectomy pain, current findings on the efficacy of various pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic interventions in pain management, recommendations for patient and family teaching regarding pain management, and best practices for improving medication adherence.

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